New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Photographs

Happy 100th Anniversary, Woolworth Building!

Written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Print Room Reference Librarian April 24, 1913, 7:30pm:  President Woodrow Wilson presses a telegraphic button in Washington, DC, illuminating eighty thousand bulbs in the newly constructed Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway in New York City, and ushering in the era of the modern skyscraper. Constructed in neo-Gothic style by architect Cass [...]

Beyond “A Photographic Mask”: An Introduction to Arnold Genthe

This post was written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. One of the best known American photographers of the early 20th century, Arnold Genthe (1869-1942) taught himself photography, experimenting with focus, retouching, and color processes along the way. Trained as an academic in his native Germany, it wasn’t until he moved to San [...]

The Traveller and the Stone: John Ledyard and the Central Park Obelisk

John Ledyard’s far from a household name in his own country even though he’s arguably the United States’ first explorer, and, had Catherine the Great not abruptly ended his circumnavigation of the globe in 1787-1788, could very well have achieved what Lewis & Clark accomplished fifteen years later. Ledyard also attended Dartmouth, participated in Cook’s Third [...]

“Jeff: Davis, aint this a Go?”: Hiram Rhoades Revels takes his seat in the Senate

On February 25, 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a preacher from Mississippi was sworn into the United States Senate. That occasion marked the first time a man of African descent served in either house of congress. While his service is a landmark in American history, Revels would not seek a second term but did go on [...]

Snakes in the Mail

Although he lived at the Waldorf-Astoria, died at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery, George A. Treadwell spent the bulk of his career as a mining engineer out west, much of it in the sweltering Arizona desert. Naturally, his papers document this mining work but they also contain some curious incoming [...]

“Freely for games and recreative sports”: New York and the small municipal park

Central and Prospect Park parks dominate New York City park history. While that’s somewhat understandable, it’s time smaller parks got some attention of their own. Despite New York’s long history, small, city-owned public parks didn’t really become a common feature until the waning years of the nineteenth century. It was then that waves of  immigration and [...]

From Kilted Soldiers to Scottish Poets–The New York Caledonian Club

This post was written by N-YHS intern Alison Shore Dundy. The recently acquired New York Caledonian Club Records (MS 2923) are a gateway to gemstones from the history of Scottish immigrants in New York City.  The records of the Caledonian Club document the work, activities, and membership of this society dedicated to the preservation of [...]

A Different Booth: William Henry Seward corresponds with Mary L. Booth

This post was written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for General Collections. Where we start is not necessarily where we end. This statement is quite true of my research into William Henry Seward, prominent political figure and Secretary of State for Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. What started as an inquiry into his public life, [...]

William Waldorf Astor’s Premature “Brush” With Death

Celebrity train wrecks are pretty standard fare for today’s news media (thank you TMZ) but that doesn’t mean history lacks its share of eccentric and ill-advised antics; among these is the the premature report of William Waldorf Astor’s death in 1892. After a middling political career and having inherited a personal fortune that drew the unrelenting [...]

“Meet Me at the Double R Coffee House”

Coffee’s big in the “city that never sleeps”. And it’s not a new thing either: a great little snapshot of this love affair has popped up in the form of a menu and an advertisement for the Double R Coffee House. Sure, you’ve never heard of it but the venture’s partners were none other than [...]

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